Official website for Mark C. Hewitt & Blank Productions

Crosspath Theatre

Written by John Agard
Directed by Mark C. Hewitt
with Leann O’Kasi as Elizabeth
& Christopher Paddon as Raleigh

Live music performed by
Pam Hewitt (voice) and Konrad Adamczewski (guitar)

“Since history and half-truths make good bedfellows
A little white lie won’t hurt.”

Cast photos © Josh Pulman, 2013

Puff is a satirical reimagining of the tobacco-fuelled flirtations of Elizabeth I and Sir Walter Raleigh. Written in rhymed couplets and cheerfully postmodern in its anachronisms, the play is set in a period of enchantment with the wonders of the New World, and particularly tobacco, the Queen herself having been introduced to the puffing habit by Raleigh. The play references the historical evidence of a growing awareness of a black presence in England during the reign of Elizabeth, as shown in the famous edict to the Lord Mayor of London by the Queen herself, who declared that there were 'too many blackamoores in the realm.' So it is perhaps fitting that Guyanese poet John Agard (recipient of the Queen's Gold Medal for poetry 2012) should have turned his subversive wit to this iconic period of British history, whilst subversively engaging with contemporary issues of identity and diversity. The play also notes that Raleigh himself was ridiculed at court for his broad Devon accent.

Puff was previewed - with live Elizabethan music - at the All Saints Centre, Lewes, in December 2013, followed by two dates in the Elizabethan Room at the National Portrait Gallery, followed by a successful summer tour in June/July 2014 to a range of non-arts venues.

CROSSPATH Puff screenshot
See YouTube trailer »

Performances to date

2014 ~ South East tour
9 July: Library, Covent Garden, London
5 July: All Saints Centre, Lewes
4 July: Hailsham Pavilion
3 July: Hastings Museum & Art Gallery
2 July: Ostrich Hotel, Robertsbridge
1 July: Wish Tower, Eastbourne seafront

30 June: Vicar’s Hall, Chichester Cathedral
29 June:
The Square Tower, Portsmouth Festivities

2013 ~ Previews

19/20 December: National Portrait Gallery, London
14/15 December: All Saints Centre, Lewes

CROSSPATH Puff promo